2019 Salon du Chocolat

Ambassador Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro (third from right, 1st row) is joined by award-winning cocoa farmer Jose Saguban (4th from right, 1st row), Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Waldo Carpio, and the rest of the Philippine delegation at the Philippine Pavilion at the 2019 Salon du Chocolat, Paris.

The Philippines’ entry to the 20th International Cocoa Awards, Mr. Jose Saguban of Kialaw, Malabog, Paquibato District, Davao City, won recognition as of one of the top 20 cocoa bean producers on 30 October 2019 during an exclusive evening ceremony which was attended by over 500 cocoa and chocolate professionals at the Salon du Chocolat, Paris.

The awardees underwent a selection and evaluation process of 223 cocoa samples submitted from 55 countries with 50 entrants shortlisted for the 2019 Edition of the International Cocoa Awards.

“I am pleased that we have a sizeable Philippine delegation to the Salon du Chocolat this year,” said Philippine Ambassador to France Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro. “I encourage our cocoa and chocolate industries in the Philippines to continue to improve and diversify their supply and products as Philippine products can definitely go toe-to-toe in the international market.”

“We organized a delegation of more than 20 individuals to participate in the Salon du Chocolat and witness the celebration of Philippine cacao as one of the 50 best in the world. We will celebrate not only Mr. Saguban but the whole cacao industry in the Philippines. We thank the Cocoa of Excellence Program for giving us this opportunity to produce the best cacao beans in the same time conserving our environment. [The] Philippines will push for a biodiverse cacao farming system,” said Mr. Valente Turtur, Chairperson of the Philippine Cacao Industry Council and President of the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao.

With the support of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry, 11 cocoa and chocolate producers from the Philippines participated in the 25th Salon du Chocolat in Paris which runs from 30 October to 03 November 2019. These include Auro Chocolate, Co Chocolat, Theo and Philo Chocolate Factory Inc., CocoLibre Corporation, Malagos Chocolate, Armson Foods Corporation, Coscao Chocolate, MS3 Agri-Ventures Corporation, NutraRich Philippines, Kablon Farm Foods Corporation, and the Philippine Cacao Industry Council.

The International Cocoa Awards highlight the work of cocoa farmers and the diversity of cocoa around the world. Every two years, the Cocoa of Excellence (CoEx) Program (spearheaded by the Alliance of Bioversity International, International Center for Tropical Agriculture, and the Salon du Chocolat) recognizes quality, flavor and diversity of cocoa according to their origin. END